As the heatwave intensifies across several parts of the country, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) under the Ministry of Earth Sciences has issued a "severe heatwave" warning in North India and Northwest India in the next five days. "Heatwave to severe heatwave conditions most likely to continue over plains of Northwest India and Heatwave conditions over north Madhya Pradesh & Gujarat State during next 5 days. Isolated heavy to very heavy rainfall very likely over south Peninsular India till 24th May with the possibility of extremely heavy falls over Kerala on 22nd & 23rd May 2024," IMD says via X.

The department in its latest forecast says a "low-pressure area" is likely to form over the Southwest Bay of Bengal by May 22, 2024. "It is likely to move northeastwards and concentrate into a depression over central parts of the Bay of Bengal by the morning of the 24th. It would continue to move northeastwards and intensify further thereafter."

The department's May 21 report says severe heatwave conditions were observed in many parts of Haryana, Delhi, and some areas of Punjab in the past 24 hours. On Monday, the highest maximum temperature of 47.4°C was reported at Najafgarh (Delhi) over the country. Also, the maximum temperatures were in the range of 44-47°C in most places over Haryana-Chandigarh-Delhi; in many parts of Rajasthan; in some places over Gujarat Region, Punjab, West Madhya Pradesh, and Uttar Pradesh. 

The temperatures were in the range of 40- 44°C in many parts of Vidarbha, East Madhya Pradesh; in some parts of Madhya Maharashtra, Marathwada, Saurashtra & Kutch. These were above normal by 4-6°C at many places over Delhi and above normal by 2-4°C over many parts of Punjab, Haryana, Chandigarh; in isolated pockets of Rajasthan, Saurashtra & Kutch, and West Uttar Pradesh, says the central weather department. At the same time, isolated places over Kerala, Tamil Nadu, and Coastal Karnataka also received "heavy to very heavy rainfall". 

In its forecast, the IMD expects there would be a "gradual rise" of about 2-3°C in maximum temperatures over many parts of central India during the next five days.

In its forecast and warning, the IMD says conditions are "favourable" for further advance of Southwest Monsoon over some parts of the Southeast Arabian Sea, some more parts of the Maldives, the Comorin area and South Bay of Bengal, and some more parts of Andaman & Nicobar Islands, and the Andaman Sea during the next two days. 

The department says it is likely that "heavy to very heavy rainfall will occur over Tamil Nadu, Puducherry & Karaikal during 21st-23rd; Kerala & Mahe on 21st & 24th and South Interior Karnataka on May 21, 2024, with isolated extremely heavy rainfall over Kerala on 22nd & 23rd May 2024".

As the temperature continues to rise, India's peak power demand touched 229.6 GW on May 18, 2024, marking the second highest of the season after May 6, 2024, when the peak power demand hit 233 GW, the government data shows. The peak demand during the same month last year was recorded at 221 GW, with lower than expected temperature. This year, the government expects the peak power demand could touch 260 GW, marking a 7% rise on a year-on-year basis. 

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